Rest in Peace to the intentional walk and everyone here at The Greedy Pinstripes sends our condolences to anyone affected by its loss. Commissioner of Major League Baseball, alongside the Major League Baseball Players Association, announced this week that the intentional walk as we know it is no longer a thing in Major League Baseball. Instead of the mostly boring four soft tosses well out of the zone before the batter subsequently takes his base opposing managers and players will now simply just wiggle four fingers to signify they want to intentionally walk a player. This must kill the purist fans of the game but for me personally I’m not too up in arms about it. Sure we may miss a blunder here or there, and we will cover just a couple of those blunders here in a moment, but overall it speeds up the game a tad and it does so without changing the face of the game that I love and adore. So without further ado let’s check out and remember a couple of those intentional walk blunders and bloopers that the purist of the fans want to hold deep in their memory. Enjoy.
Just last season we watched as Gary Sanchez took an intended intentional walk pitch and lofted it into the Yankee Stadium outfield for a sacrifice fly. Sanchez didn’t miss the home run by much and this may go down as my favorite intentional walk blunder if it weren’t for Barry Bonds….
Barry Lamar Bonds was one of the most feared hitters in all of Major League Baseball during his prime and this was never more evident than the time Bonds came up to the plate in 1998 with the bases loaded only to draw four straight balls outside for an intentional walk. The Arizona Diamondbacks intentionally and willingly gave the San Francisco Giants a free run by walking Bonds rather than pitch to him with the bases loaded and potentially give up four runs. That’s respect right there.
Remember way back when Vladimir Guerrero was still wearing a Montreal Expos uniform? Yes kids, the Montreal Expos really were a thing back in my day and yes kids, I realize I am getting old. Anyway, I digress. One time back in 2001 Guerrero actually hit a home run off an intentional walk pitch that will forever go down in the history of intentional walks as one of the absolute best moments in baseball.
The final intentional walk blunder we will cover this afternoon is infamous for all the wrong reasons. John Olerud was at the plate back in 1996 when an intentional walk pitch went awry, kind of. The intentional walk was faked and Olerud was left with the bat on his shoulder when strike three went right down the middle of the plate. Talk about insult to injury.
I know I probably missed a few, and admittedly I tried to keep them all current and during my lifetime and during my fandom years, so if you have a few please feel free to leave them below in the comments section or by giving us a follow on Twitter @GreedyStripes. Thanks!